Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Affordable Care: Necessary and Proper

Making Care Affordable, Accessible, and Available to All

I was not surprised about the decision of the United States Supreme Court declaring that the Health care Law, which is the Affordable Care Act, is constitutional.

I was worried that, because of the composition of the current Supreme Court, the conservative wing would prevail. Chief Justice Roberts, a known conservative and, in fact, chosen for being such, showed that my fears turned out to be groundless. He tilted the decision in favor of constitutionality.

We live in a free and democratic society. Individually, we each pursue a dream of a comfortable and just life, liberty, and happiness.

In this pursuit we are encouraged to acquire the necessary tools to be prepared and successful in fighting off obstructions, obstacles, and hurdles.

Our ascendants have chosen education and skills development as the best tool in preparing us to pursue our dream.

In some cases, our parents could not do it alone. Older siblings who completed their studies and became gainfully employed, as in our family, would help. Other private institutions or community organizations that provide scholarships, grants and/or loans would also be tapped.

In most cases, the government, local and national, comes into the picture, because it has been endowed with powers and resources to create a free and enlightened society.

A major part of the American Dream is owning your own home. In local governance, free education is funded by real estate taxes.

Those who have expensive homes, therefore, pay more taxes and proportionately contribute more to the education of all, rich or poor citizens.

This touches on previously discussed precepts, “much is given, much is required”, and “the amount of power and responsibility is commensurate to the amount of resources that one possesses”.

One’s dream could be realized by education but Catastrophic Medical Expenses could totally destroy it.

Yes, indeed we all have heard and in fact, became witnesses to those who were stuck at “the boulevard of broken dreams” because they or a member of their family were inflicted with illness whose treatment they could not afford to pay. There are too many unforeseen, unexpected and unavoidable events causing irreparable damage to one’s body or health that could doom anybody’s life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Many have died, become bankrupt and had their dreams shattered mainly due to the lack of health insurance.

Without thinking of the Supreme Court’s composition, I always thought that it would be a no-brainer to rule that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional.

The U.S. Constitution provided Congress with broad powers. Article I, Section 8, specified 27 expressed powers that grant the legislative branch a huge amount of authority over American national policy, both foreign and domestic.

Some of the most important powers include the power to regulate commerce, the power to tax and to borrow money. Even the power to hire pirates to attack foreign enemies is included.

The debate had been concentrated on the constitutionality of the law’s individual insurance mandate under the “commerce clause”. As we all know now, the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Roberts decided that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional based on Congress’ power to tax.

Unless repealed, the law without question would now guarantee universal health care in America.

There are thirty-three (33) acknowledged developed nations in the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), thirty-two of these countries have universal health care.

The exception? The United States of America, which is supposed to be the richest and most developed nation in the world.

With the Supreme Court decision, the United States of America will have universal health care in 2014 using an insurance mandate system.

In a free, democratic, healthy and enlightened society, it is the “necessary and proper” thing to have for its citizens.

As provided by the U.S. Constitution, amidst all the debates on certain expressed powers, Congress is actually granted the power  “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.” (Article I, Section 8, last paragraph)

For me Education and Health Care are individual rights that every citizen should have if America wants to continue to be a just and humane society. Every citizen should have these rights to pursue the “life, liberty, and happiness” that he dreams about.

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